When it comes to your health, there’s always something new to learn. It can be difficult to separate fact from fiction, especially when there are so many different opinions out there. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of some common beliefs that you might have heard about hot showers or baths. Do they raise blood pressure? Are they bad for your skin? Read on to find out the truth behind these common misconceptions.
Does a Hot Shower Really Raise Blood Pressure?
A hot shower does not raise blood pressure. This is a myth that was started by an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 1957. The article reported that men who took hot showers showed higher blood pressure readings after their showers than those who stood under cool water. The authors of the JAMA article were unaware that the men had been given a salt tablet to increase their blood pressure.
What Causes Blood Pressure To Rise?
In the US, approximately 1 out of every 3 adults suffers from some form of dehydration. Dehydration is a condition in which there is an inadequate amount of water in a person’s body. The kidneys are responsible for controlling the amount of fluid in a person’s body. When there is too little fluid present in the blood, the pressure inside the blood vessels rises. This causes an increase in blood pressure and can lead to headaches, dizziness, fainting, and even heart attacks.
Stress can cause many bodily functions to slow down or become irregular. One of these functions is blood pressure regulation. When stress increases, so do the need for more blood from the veins to flow into the arteries that supply oxygenated blood to all parts of your body including your brain and muscles. This additional flow of blood causes an increase in pressure within your arteries which results in increased levels of stress hormones such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol.
Certain medications can cause blood pressure to rise, especially when taken in high doses. This is because medications act as vasoconstrictors by causing the blood vessels to constrict and reduce the amount of blood flowing through them. Examples of these medications include aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), beta-blockers, and ACE inhibitors.
Smoking causes a number of problems for your heart and circulatory system including elevated cholesterol levels, hypertension, coronary artery disease, and stroke. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your body’s cells because it increases carbon monoxide levels in the blood which causes blood vessels to constrict more than normal.
In addition to these five factors, there are several other factors that can increase blood pressure. These include dehydration, hypoglycemia, postmenopausal hormone therapy, pregnancy, and several medicines including beta blockers and nitrates.
Why Does A Hot Shower Raise Blood Pressure?
- The increase in blood pressure is due to a temporary rise in salt levels, causing the heart to work harder. The body responds by increasing the heart rate and muscle activity. These changes are temporary and normal after a hot shower.
- Because of the temporary rise in salt levels, the body does not have time to compensate for this increase with a lower level of blood pressure.
- After about one minute, the body returns to its normal level of blood pressure and there is no further effect from a hot shower on blood pressure.
- There are many more studies that show that hot showers do not raise your blood pressure at all!
- The effects of a hot shower on blood pressure is only temporary. After about one minute, the blood pressure returns to normal and there is no further effect from a hot shower on blood pressure.
- A hot shower does not make your blood pressure rise any higher than it would have been without the hot shower.
- If you take a hot bath before taking a shower, then take the same temperature bath as you would if you took a warm/hot shower, your blood pressure will be the same after both showers.
- The reason that some people feel that they have had a hot shower is due to the fact that they are dehydrated and their body temperature drops more when they take a warm/hot shower than when they take an icy cold bath or shower. After taking an icy cold bath or shower, their body temperature will rise back up to normal after about 30 minutes and there will be no further effect on their blood pressure from taking the city and the blood pressure will not rise.
- The authors of the 1957 JAMA article did not have access to modern-day technology that would have allowed them to monitor the changes in salt levels in the heart and body. They were unaware that they were given a salt tablet and that this was the reason for their findings.
- The authors of the 1957 JAMA article also did not report what was happening in other parts of the body while they were taking their hot showers, like their brain or skin temperature or body temperature. If you had taken a hot shower, would you feel like your brain and skin got hotter than normal? Would your muscle activity increase? Would you feel more comfortable? These questions are all unanswered so we don’t know if we can trust these results at all!
How To Reduce Blood Pressure While Showering?
- If you are using a hot shower, keep the temperature as low as possible.
- Do not use scented products while showering.
- Avoid getting scalded.
- Avoid heavy exercise or strenuous activity while showering.
- If you have a high blood pressure reading, your doctor can recommend certain lifestyle changes that could help to lower your blood pressure during or after the shower.
- Never get into the shower with your heart racing or in an agitated state of mind since these conditions can raise blood pressure even more than normal levels when you are in a hot shower!
Read more about the effects of a hot shower on blood pressure and other interesting facts related to this topic in the articles below.
A hot shower may feel nice and relaxing, but it can actually raise your blood pressure even more than a warm shower. If you have high blood pressure, try to keep the temperature of your shower on the cooler side to help lower your blood pressure even more. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, try to relax before getting into the shower. You can also try to lower your blood pressure even further by keeping the temperature of your shower on the cooler side and avoiding scented products.